by Barbara Diamond
December 07, 2004
I of all people, do not believe that the non-native way is necessarily the right way. What is the "right" way? The "right" way means different things to different people. I have studied the native culture and I have experienced a great deal of it first hand. I strongly believe that native and non-native people alike should strive together to retain the native history, culture, language, customs and way of life. I don't know whom it is that is asking you to give up your culture, history, subsistence and way of life, certainly not me, but I believe the government has been issuing grants for years to fund projects in order to protect and perpetuate your culture and identity.
As for life not being fair "because" of your skin color, Don, I don't agree with that statement, but then again, I've never walked a day in your skin. Call me naïve, but I can't understand why prejudice even exists. However, if I were to adopt your philosophy, I could just as easily say that life has not been fair to me because of my skin color. Can I hunt seal, do I get free medical, etc. No I can't and don't, but I also don't begrudge you those rights! I would never dream of asking you to give up your culture. After all, without the native people, I wouldn't be able to enjoy the seal oil on my herring eggs that I love so much. Thanks to my very dear native friends and family.
Never give up your God given native rights Don, but expecting your culture and way of life to remain exactly as it was hundreds of years ago, is not realistic. It would not be the same even if non-native people had never set foot on this land. But they did! It's called evolution. Hey, things could be worse, Alaska could still be part of Russia.
All cultures working together and respecting each other's heritage is the only way to move forward to world peace. Don't get too caught up in your own personal battle and forget to look at the big picture. I respect your love of your culture and commend you for you relentless desire and energy you put forth to fight for your rights, but you can't expect to win all the battles. Winning the war is a far greater victory.
Keep up the good work with your fight on the Pennock to Gravina Island Bridge, but I think you need to do a bit more research on the need for the Anchorage Bridge. Just how many deaths are there on the Glenn Highway each year, how many miles would be knocked off the Anchorage/Mat Valley commute and what is the maintenance on that heavily traveled highway?
Don, I wish I had done something about the Blue Fox Café issue, but unfortunately since the whole thing was a very early memory in my life, and I was only about five or six years old, I wasn't able to do too much about it. However, it obviously made a big impression on my young little five or six year old mind. I did all I could do... I remembered!
Thanks for including the pictures with your letters. I really enjoy them and am looking forward to your response. More pictures please.
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